Weatherizing 6 - Window Treatments Weatherizing 6 - Window Treatments

Window Treatments

Margin of Error: Not applicable

Now on to the windows. Before we begin to discuss weatherstripping, let's go back to your weatherization audit. Did you find any cracked or broken panes? Any old or missing glazing compound? How about deteriorated weatherstripping that had been applied in years gone by? These items must be corrected before adding any new weatherstripping or it will all be a waste of time and money.

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The cracked and broken windows are obvious. Replace them. Record accurate measurements and take them to your home center or glass shop.

Properly sized and placed, snug-fitting windows can save a significant amount on your heating and cooling bills. If it is necessary to replace windows, you may want to consider a different style that will allow for greater ventilation during warmer months. Casement windows offer almost 100 percent of their sash opening for ventilation, while double-hung and sliding types offer only 50 percent. And a well-placed sliding door will give up to three times the ventilation of an average window.

Energy efficient sash and frame windows with double-pane insulating glass have low infiltration rates and will easily pay for themselves in energy saved.


When reglazing, remove all old glazing compound from the window sash with a putty knife, chisel, or large screwdriver. On wood sash, pull out all glazier's points (triangular pieces of metal which hold the glass in place) with pliers. On metal sash, the spring clips or glazing strips will have to be removed. The sash should then be cleaned with a wire brush and primed with an appropriate primer to insure a good bond. Allow the primer time to dry before reinserting the points, clips, or strips and applying the glazing compound.

Glazing compound is a smooth, flexible material used to seal window panes in order to keep out air and moisture. You can also eliminate drafts and reduce condensation around windows by replacing the glazing compound that is cracked or missing.

Apply the new glazing compound according to the manufacturer's directions. It is usually applied directly from the container with a putty knife. However, special compounds are available in cartridges for application with a caulking gun. These eliminate much of the kneading and handling normally required when glazing. For best results, glazing compound should be painted.

Storm doors and windows go a long way in sealing up a house. These are specially fitted with heavy-duty weatherstripping and sealed glass inserts.

There are many do-it-yourself storm window and door kits available. If you do not wish to go to the expense of providing storms for all of your windows, there is an option available called window insulator film. This is a clear plastic film used with double-sided tape to shrink around your window, window grouping, or glass door. Application of window film is quite simple:

  1. Measure and cut the double-sided tape and apply it to clean outside edges or faces of the window molding.
  2. Unfold the provided film and cut it to the size of the window (including trim), allowing two inches extra all around.
  3. Start at the top and press the film securely to the tape. The film will have wrinkles.
  4. Now shrink the film with a hair blow dryer set on the highest setting. Do not touch the film as you do this. Just aim the hot air evenly over the entire covering. This takes the wrinkles out and leaves you with a clear 11" pane to see through.
  5. Trim the excess film with a sharp utility knife or scissors. This film reduces air leak by approximately 97 percent, thus reducing frost buildup on windows. The film and the tape can be removed at the end of the season.

Interior Window Coverings

Another area for refining your home energy management are window treatments - draperies, cornices, roller shades, venetians, roman shades, louvres, quilts, sunscreens, and even exterior awnings. These can offer greater energy savings at less cost than storm windows or double-paned glass. The combinations are almost endless. They can range from the simple sew-it-yourself, install-it-yourself window quilt systems up through complex, passive, solar gain controls intended to turn your house into an efficient heat pump. Of course, the latter are treatments for a professional. But there are many good-looking and energy-efficient offerings on the market which are inexpensive as well.

One type is that which can be sewn yourself or purchased inexpensively in the form of padded, quilt-like shades. With magnetic strips sewn into the sides of the shade, they effectively cling to magnetic strips installed on the window trim to form an airtight seal.

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